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Monday, 21 August, 2000, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
Concerns over Derry airport
Concerns in the city about Derry airport's facilities
Concerns in the city about Derry airport's facilities
By BBC Northern Ireland's Keiron Tourish

An emergency meeting of Derry City Council's airport committee is to be held in September to discuss recent problems at the facility.

Passengers returning from Majorca had to be diverted to Belfast last week when technical equipment was not available in Londonderry.

The Northern Ireland Fire Brigade has said it has concerns over health and safety issues at the Derry City Council-owned airport.

However management at the airport have insisted there is no cause for alarm.

'Training needed'

Two weeks ago City of Derry airport had minimum fuel stocks and a Ryanair flight to Stanstead had to stop off in Liverpool.

Cathal Crumley:
Cathal Crumley: "Any problems should be highlighted"
The airport said the company knew that fuel in large quantities was not available for a short period.

Last week a flight bringing holidaymakers from Majorca was diverted to Belfast because a certificate for technical equipment had not arrived.

Fire crews based there also have serious concerns according to Gareth Scott from Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union.

He said: "It is our view that there needs to be ongoing training because these people need to be kept up to speed in case there's a major incident and because of the way the airport works with different flights coming in, you have different categories, and you have to have training for each category."

'Serious situation'

Mayor of Derry, Cathal Crumley, has said the situation remains serious.

"If employees and particularly health and safety employees are suggesting to me that things might not be entirely in order at the airport, then I want that aired.

"That's what I want the emergency committee meeting of the airport to be about and I want the chief executive to take action."

Former Social Democratic and Labour Party mayor Annie Courtney said the community in Derry was "deeply concerned" about the way in which the airport has been managed in the past.

"They also have every right to demand that the situation is reversed and that mistakes that had been made in the past are never made again," she said.

However, City of Derry airport manager Seamus Devine said that the aiport had upheld its safety record.

He said: "I am confident and the Civil Aviation Authority are also confident because they are the guardians of public safety. They check the systems to ensure all airports are operating within the standards."

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